Every week leading up to the 2016 Primary Season, HSLDA will post a profile for one of the 2016 Presidential candidates on Homeschooling Now, highlighting where each stands on the Common Core State Standards Initiative. For more information on the Common Core, check out our free resources at HSLDA.org/CommonCore.
- Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007)
- Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1992-1996)
CURRENT POSITION: Opposes the Common Core
PAST POSITION: Supported the Common Core
- 2011: Huckabee publishes his book “A Simple Government,” which praises Race to the Top: “I fully endorse the new federal program Race to the Top, which has states compete for additional education funds, allowing them to decide what reforms to enact rather than having specific reforms imposed on them from above.”
- 2013: Sends letter to Oklahoma state lawmakers encouraging them to :resist any attempt to delay implementation: of Common Core; Huckabee urges Common Core supporters to “rebrand” the standards to avoid controversy; begins backing away from support of the name “Common Core”.
- 2015: Comes out in opposition to the CC standards, saying they have been hijacked by the federal government.
“While I believe such standards make sense for public schools in math and English, I support parents’ freedom of choice to educate their children however they want, including homeschooling, regardless of the standards that are applied in a public school setting.” —Huckabee’s Facebook Post on May 2013
““It’s disturbing to me there have been criticisms of these [Common Core] standards directed by other conservatives,” he said. “I’ve heard the argument these standards ‘threaten local control’ of what’s being taught in Oklahoma classrooms. Speaking from one conservative to another, let me assure you this simply is not true … They’re not something to be afraid of; indeed they are something to embrace.” —Letter to Oklahoma lawmakers, June 2013, via Washington Times
“I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts. I’m dead set against the federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject; I oppose the collection of personal data on students that would identify them and track them and any effort to give that personal information to the federal government. … I’m convinced that the term Common Core needs to disappear from the lexicon of education policy. It’s a toxic term because it’s come to mean things that most of us can’t stomach, like top-down federal intrusion into the local schools where you live. But Common Core as it was designed had nothing to do with the federal government. It was conceived and controlled by elected governors and state school chiefs to keep the federal hands from interfering. It only dealt with two subjects, math and English, and in those two subjects, established only state-initiated standards in those subjects, and intentionally did not write or even suggest curriculum. It set voluntary goals — VOLUNTARY goals — controlled by local school boards.” —Huckabee’s Website, December 2013, via Washington Post
In regards to the name Common Core” becoming toxic, “Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.”
—Meeting with the Council of Chief State School Officers (one of the groups that developed Common Core), January 2014, via the Washington Post
“[A]nybody who tells you that I support Common Core is either incredibly less informed than he or she pretends to be, or is just being plain dishonest because they really want to help somebody else, and not me, and that’s okay. … “Folks, what Common Core may have originally been was a governor-controlled states initiative to keep the fickle federal fingers of fate off of education. It has morphed into a frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support.” —Speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, January 2015 via Breitbart News
“[I] oppose Common Core and believe we should abolish the federal department of education. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.” —Huckabee’s Campaign Website, 2015
- Christian Post: Interview with Mike Huckabee on Common Core and Running for President, January 2015
- Washington Post: Mike Huckabee walks back his support for Common Core, December 2013
- The Huckabee Show, Fox News, December 2013
SUMMARY: Huckabee has been quickly backing away from his support of the standards. His staunch support of Common Core in the beginning continued past the point where the standards became unpopular, particularly in the Republican Party. He has urged education leaders to ditch the Common Core name and call it by state-friendly terminology – i.e., the “Iowa Core.” He now opposes the Common Core and justifies his shift in viewpoint by arguing the standards were “hijacked” by the federal government.
— Andrew Mullins and Lauren Mitchell
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Andrew Mullins and Charity Klicka; second image by Gage Skidmore.